Liverpool’s Empire welcomes back an old friend – in a fizzy show that makes many other musicals green with envy.

It’s gigantic family fun from the moment a huge fairy tale book is opened and clever projections set the scene.

This fantasy about a swamp-loving Ogre is on the road following on from other record-breaking tours.

The story, based on the original Dreamworks blockbuster film, revolves around short-fused Shrek (Steffan Harri) and his wise-cracking, loyal ‘steed’ the aptly-named Donkey (Marcus Hayton) as they set off on a quirky quest to rescue the beautiful Princess Fiona.

The touchy royal is played by Laura Main with some fine comic timing. She is imprisoned in a tower and guarded by a fire-breathing, love-sick dragon whose breath is much sharper than her bite.

The puppetry here is outstanding.

Shrek and Donkey’s mission is at the behest of Lord Farquaad – a villain of sorts. The dastardly, diminutive king-in-waiting has a huge chip on his shoulder-pads.

Samuel Holmes has made the role his own with every scene-stealing routine as he dashes across the stage using his tiny legs prop device to maximum effect. What he achieves in the process has to be seen to be believed

There’s some local and topical references in the snappy script and a song about breaking wind goes down well with the children and adults alike.

The two and a half hour show is an ensemble piece with sumptuous sets and with eye-catching colourful costumes.

Nigel Harman, tour director, packs in 20 songs and dazzling dance numbers from the gang of fairy tale characters we have all grown up with including a precious Peter Pan, nose-growing Pinocchio and a spiky gingerbread biscuit with attitude.

There is a happy ending, of course, with the cast and seven-piece orchestra belting out a sparkling version of The Monkees hit I’m a Believer.

The opening night performance received a well-earned standing ovation.

If you want to escape from the World Cup then this talented team of storytellers are waiting in the wings.

Star Shrek!

Catch it now on until June 24.

For tickets call the Liverpool Empire box office on 0844 871 3017.